Xezo Eternal Flame Review
The Xezo Eternal Flame fountain pen is another in the luxury goods retailer’s line of numbered, limited edition pen. Covered with a bright red-orange lacquer that is swirled with darker reds and blacks, this pen lives up to its name, giving the impression of staring deep into the coals of a roaring bonfire. The bright red of the pen is accented liberally with gold-plated furniture. The Eternal Flame’s profile is somewhat cigar-shaped and, was it not for the pen’s finish, might not be all that interesting. Fortunately, this metal-bodied pen is all about its flashy finish. According to Xezo’s marketing material, the lacquer finish is manually applied and hand-polished in multiple layers (usually between 9-12) of different colors and is then coated with three coats of translucent lacquer that is baked on and polished again, resulting in a finish that in unique for each pen. (It is not a printed or applique finish.) The result is a bright, glossy finish that can really catch the eye.
The cap’s tall finial is domed but has a deep cutout that reaches across the entire dome and holds the swooping design of the pen’s hinged clip. The thick clip is an unusual-but-attractive shape, and its gold-plated profile is unadorned save for a double roller wheel at the end of the clip.
The remainder of the cap is divided into three cylindrical sections of red flame lacquer, each divided by gold-colored washers, and is finished off with a thin, gold cap band. The segmented cap results in a look that is different, but I find quite attractive, with a fair bit of visual interest.
When the pen is capped, the cap closes flush with the barrel. The cap’s thin band then merges with a wider band at the top of the barrel upon which is engraved “XEZO Eternal Flame 18 karat gold plated N. 264. (The pen is a 2016 limited edition of 270.) The rest of the barrel, which is covered with the same red flame lacquer, tapers down to a long gold finial with a rounded point.
If you’re not the kind of person who likes gold furniture on your pen, this is not the pen for you. There is a LOT of gold on the Eternal Flame, but I simply can’t envision the pen with any other type of furniture. The bright yellow gold complements the red lacquer perfectly. (And let’s be honest, red and gold are one of the world’s perfect color combinations. Griffyndor, anyone?)
The screw-on cap takes three full rotations to unscrew from the barrel, which is not ideal for short writing sessions. Fortunately, the metal cap is lined with a black plastic inner cap into which the cap’s threads are cut, resulting in very smooth threads with no metal-on-metal squeaking.
Under the cap is a moderate step-down between the barrel and the section which accommodates the flush cap design when the pen is capped. The long, slender, and tapering section is, quite unusually, also lacquered with the same beautiful red lacquer finish. I love the look of the lacquer on the section but found that I ran into problems with it when I started to write. At 10.5mm, the section is a touch narrow for my personal tastes, and when combined with a slick finish, a tapered profile, a heavier-than-average weight, and my personal tendency to get sweaty hands, I found my grip continually slipping down toward the nib. Often, to compensate, I would also find myself death gripping the pen.
The Xezo Eternal Flame features a #5-sized, steel, bi-color “Iridium Point Germany” nib with a pretty standard plastic feed. The nib tip is well-polished with a minor bit of pleasant toothiness. The ink flow is adjusted to be just a touch on the dry side of moderate. Unfortunately, you can get the Eternal Flame with any size nib you want, so long as it’s fine. Xezo opted to get these pens with fine nibs only. Fortunately, with a standard-sized nib, it would be quite easy to replay the nib on this pen with another #5 nib if you wanted a different point. The feed looks like would be compatible with other Jowo-made #5 nibs, so replacements should be relatively easy to source.
The pen uses standard international cartridges (long and short) and converters and comes with a high-quality Schmidt-style converter and several short cartridges.
In the hand, I found the Eternal Flame to be pleasant, but not without a few issues. Obviously, the aforementioned slippery lacquered grip was significant for me. Also, as a metal-bodied pen, the Eternal flame feels a bit on the heavy side for its size. For folks who prefer a more slender grip but like a bit more heft, this could be a great combination. (Heavier-yet-slender pens aren’t super common in the market.) When posted, the pen feels really heavy and extremely unbalanced, so this is a pen I don’t suggest you use posted.
The Xezo Eternal Flame is listed on the Xezo site for $186.00. Considering the hand-applied lacquer and the more intricate design of the cap, I can understand the price point, although it does still feel a little high for me considering a fine-only #5 IPG nib. (I did find the pen on Amazon for $22 cheaper.) I think the limited edition size (270 instead of the usual 500) also had some impact on the pricing of this pen. Were the pen a slightly better ergonomic fit for my hand, I would seriously consider spending the money, and then maybe upgrading to a gold nib with a fatter point.
As it is, the Xezo Eternal Flame is beautifully built, rock solid, and has one of the most unique and eye-catching finishes I’ve ever seen on a lacquered pen. There’s a lot here to love.
Material: Lacquer over Brass
Nib: Steel #5 Fine
Appointments: 18k Gold-plated
Filling System: Standard International Cartridge/Converter
Length (Capped): 141.6mm
Length (Uncapped): 128.6mm
Length (Posted): 157.7mm
Section Diameter: 10.5mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 13.7mm
Cap Max Diameter: 13.7mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 32g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter):56g
The pen for this review was provided free of charge by Xezo, and will be given away to Pen Habit viewers. No additional compensation was provided, and all opinions expressed in this review are my own.